"Email to friend" a valid feature?

3 Dec 2008 - 10:48pm
5 years ago
15 replies
1268 reads
Juan Ruiz
2007

I've been seeing the popularity of the "Email to a friend", "Email Article", "Email page" (and many other names) feature on the internet. Personally, I never use this feature because I think that the company behind the website will store my email and my friend's email address, plus the email will contain advertising elements as well, so instead, I personally email the URL to my friend. But of course, I'm talking here on my own experience.

Does anybody have statistics that validate the inclusion of this feature? Do people really use this feature? If so, do they use it a lot?

Looking forward for your input.

Thanks,

Juan Ruiz
Senior User Experience Architect
-------------------------------------------------

Comments

3 Dec 2008 - 11:19pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

People use it a ton on UIE.com (and we don't store the email addresses
anywhere, nor does it contain any advertising).

Jared

On Dec 3, 2008, at 10:48 PM, Juan Ruiz wrote:

> I've been seeing the popularity of the "Email to a friend", "Email
> Article", "Email page" (and many other names) feature on the
> internet. Personally, I never use this feature because I think that
> the company behind the website will store my email and my friend's
> email address, plus the email will contain advertising elements as
> well, so instead, I personally email the URL to my friend. But of
> course, I'm talking here on my own experience.
>
> Does anybody have statistics that validate the inclusion of this
> feature? Do people really use this feature? If so, do they use it a
> lot?
>
> Looking forward for your input.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Juan Ruiz
> Senior User Experience Architect
> -------------------------------------------------
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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3 Dec 2008 - 11:34pm
Tonia M Bartz
2008

While I do not have any statistics on the usage of email to a friend,
I imagine it is high. I use this and other sharing methods often. I've
also included email to friend features on websites without storing the
addresses or including advertising.

Tonia M. Bartz
tonia.m.bartz at gmail.com

On Wed, Dec 3, 2008 at 8:48 PM, Juan Ruiz <Juan.Ruiz at hyro.com> wrote:
> I've been seeing the popularity of the "Email to a friend", "Email Article", "Email page" (and many other names) feature on the internet. Personally, I never use this feature because I think that the company behind the website will store my email and my friend's email address, plus the email will contain advertising elements as well, so instead, I personally email the URL to my friend. But of course, I'm talking here on my own experience.
>
> Does anybody have statistics that validate the inclusion of this feature? Do people really use this feature? If so, do they use it a lot?
>
> Looking forward for your input.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Juan Ruiz
> Senior User Experience Architect
> -------------------------------------------------
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

4 Dec 2008 - 4:43am
Kordian Piotr Klecha
2008

>
> On Wed, Dec 3, 2008 at 8:48 PM, Juan Ruiz <Juan.Ruiz at hyro.com> wrote:
> > Does anybody have statistics that validate the inclusion of this feature?
> Do people really use this feature? If so, do they use it a lot?
>

I don't have stats, but just a few days ago I was wondering about the same -
and decided to make a pool.
Here are results:

http://interaktywnosc.pl/temp/wyniki.png

Translation:

1. Do you sometimes send (using any method) you friends a link to
interesting articles and other stuff?
1) Yes, every day.
2) Yes, not often.
3) No, afair never.
4) One time... Maybe five...

2. Did you send a link/message using "email to friend" feature this year?

1) No
2) Yes
3) Don't know, can't remember.

3. Did you get a link/message sent via "email to friend" feature this year?

1) No
2) Yes
3) Don't know, can't remember.

Pool is of course very primitive method - and the responders were specific
(over 100 people working in the webportal), but over 5% answers "Yes" on
both 2nd and 3rd question is some indicator. I was going to recommend
abandon this feature, now I am not, the more so as cost od implementing is
very low.

Greetings,
KPK

4 Dec 2008 - 7:23am
Prachi Sakhardande
2007

A lot of corporate firewalls block access to public email sites such as
gmail or yahoo mail. In such a scenario, if I were to come across an
interesting article (not relevant to work) , I would prefer to forward it
using 'email to a friend' link rather than use my work email. I would be
interested in knowing if people on this list would make a similar choice.
On Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 3:13 PM, Kordian Piotr Klecha <kpklecha at gmail.com>wrote:

> >
> > On Wed, Dec 3, 2008 at 8:48 PM, Juan Ruiz <Juan.Ruiz at hyro.com> wrote:
> > > Does anybody have statistics that validate the inclusion of this
> feature?
> > Do people really use this feature? If so, do they use it a lot?
> >
>
>
> I don't have stats, but just a few days ago I was wondering about the same
> -
> and decided to make a pool.
> Here are results:
>
> http://interaktywnosc.pl/temp/wyniki.png
>
> Translation:
>
> 1. Do you sometimes send (using any method) you friends a link to
> interesting articles and other stuff?
> 1) Yes, every day.
> 2) Yes, not often.
> 3) No, afair never.
> 4) One time... Maybe five...
>
> 2. Did you send a link/message using "email to friend" feature this year?
>
> 1) No
> 2) Yes
> 3) Don't know, can't remember.
>
> 3. Did you get a link/message sent via "email to friend" feature this year?
>
> 1) No
> 2) Yes
> 3) Don't know, can't remember.
>
>
> Pool is of course very primitive method - and the responders were specific
> (over 100 people working in the webportal), but over 5% answers "Yes" on
> both 2nd and 3rd question is some indicator. I was going to recommend
> abandon this feature, now I am not, the more so as cost od implementing is
> very low.
>
> Greetings,
> KPK
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Cheers,
Prachi

4 Dec 2008 - 10:20am
Kevin Doyle
2007

I think it's become an expected feature, Juan, and is used quite a
bit by novice and intermediate users.

I'm like you -- I NEVER use this feature because I don't trust the
sites to use my friend's email addresses responsibly. Just put a
line of small-sized text close to the button explaining that the site
won't ever use the email addresses for anything other than the
emailing feature (maybe include a link to the privacy policy, too).
That should appeal to expert web users like yourself.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36156

4 Dec 2008 - 1:45pm
Benjamin Ho
2007

There are times when I actually wished this feature would be there -
especially when looking at products for the home that I'd like to
send to my wife for "consultation". Of course, I'd use the
public-access email instead of ones from corporate. Then at least
the spam filters can still be modified when or if they come.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36156

4 Dec 2008 - 3:17pm
Marilyn Matty
2008

I use this feature A LOT, both to mail interesting articles, videos, etc. to
others, and also to send things I'd like archived to myself at a gmail
account.

Marilyn

4 Dec 2008 - 4:42pm
Evan K. Stone
2008

> I use this feature A LOT, both to mail interesting articles, videos,
etc. to
> others, and also to send things I'd like archived to myself at a gmail
> account.

I use the feature fairly often, but almost exclusively for the latter
case mentioned by Marilyn: that of emailing items of interest to
*myself.*

I rarely use the feature to email items to other people, since I can
usually just as easily send a url with a real email message or use an
instant messenger, instead of relying on the system's canned email
message. The one primary exception is when it's a flash-based
application (or similar ilk), in which case I'm generally forced to use
the site's "email to a friend" function (e.g. beatport.com online music
shop).

hope this helps!

//eks.

4 Dec 2008 - 8:08pm
Christian Crumlish
2006

At Yahoo we're working on a universal sharing pattern (for our own sites)
that treats this is as just one possible mode of sharing (fwiw).
-x-

On Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 1:42 PM, Evan K. Stone <
evan.stone at dragnetsolutions.com> wrote:

> > I use this feature A LOT, both to mail interesting articles, videos,
> etc. to others, and also to send things I'd like archived to myself at a
> gmail
> > account.
>

4 Dec 2008 - 11:44am
Michael Etgen
2008

For some additional reference, here's part of a Nielsen Alertbox
article on transactional e-mail that says that these types of e-mail
messages tend to be very well received:

"Websites often let people send an email message through their site
to a friend or colleague %u2014 they might, for example, forward an
article or inform a friend about a recommended (or wished-for)
product. Participants valued receiving these messages mostly because
they were a personal recommendation from a friend or trusted party.
To strengthen this effect, it's important that such messages feature
the friend's name prominently in the sender information and that the
friend be able to customize the email with a personal message."
(http://www.useit.com/alertbox/confirmation-email.html)

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36156

4 Dec 2008 - 9:29pm
Cwodtke
2004

Once the site has a relationship with you (i.e.NYTimes registratin, or
facebook) this becomes frictionless, and adds value, not only for the sender
and recipient, but also in agregate-- this of how facinating "most emailed"
is on NYtimes compared to any other measures of popularity. It's a much
stronger measure of redcommendation.

On Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 5:08 PM, Christian Crumlish <xian at pobox.com> wrote:

> At Yahoo we're working on a universal sharing pattern (for our own sites)
> that treats this is as just one possible mode of sharing (fwiw).
> -x-
>
>
> On Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 1:42 PM, Evan K. Stone <
> evan.stone at dragnetsolutions.com> wrote:
>
> > > I use this feature A LOT, both to mail interesting articles, videos,
> > etc. to others, and also to send things I'd like archived to myself at a
> > gmail
> > > account.
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

5 Dec 2008 - 1:02am
Juan Ruiz
2007

Thanks all for your responses. You guys have helped me answered the
"Email to a friend" dilema. This is what I've gathered from this:

- "Email to a friend" might not be used in a great deal, but it is
a expected feature.
- "Email to a friend" is used as a bookmarking mechanism to store
important content and urls on the user's email application (could we
find an alternative method?)
- "Email to a friend" adds more value once the site has a
relationship with the user
- "Email to a friend" is more relevant for article pages, product
description pages, or search results pages rather than generic
landing pages.

KPK, even though you ran a short survey, i think the results were
great.

Christian, I'm looking forward on Yahoo! creating a pattern
description for the "Email to a friend" feature. Let me know if I
can help on anything

Regards,
-Juan Ruiz

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36156

24 Dec 2008 - 12:16am
cfmdesigns
2004

On Dec 3, 2008, at 7:48 PM, Juan Ruiz wrote:

> I've been seeing the popularity of the "Email to a friend", "Email
> Article", "Email page" (and many other names) feature on the
> internet. Personally, I never use this feature because I think that
> the company behind the website will store my email and my friend's
> email address, plus the email will contain advertising elements as
> well, so instead, I personally email the URL to my friend. But of
> course, I'm talking here on my own experience.
>
> Does anybody have statistics that validate the inclusion of this
> feature? Do people really use this feature? If so, do they use it a
> lot?

I basically never use it from a given website, because (a) I don't
know what they are going to do with the address I send to, and (b) I
prefer to craft the message being sent with the link such that it
reflects me, not their template.

I do use the iPhone Safari version of the feature, though, to send
myself copies of website links for later reading on other systems.

-- Jim

25 Dec 2008 - 11:16am
DampeS8N
2008

What we have here is a classic example of not going far enough. Mixed
with once burned twice shy.

Expert users almost never use these things because they don't trust
them and they don't really offer anything that can't be done more
personally with a copy and paste of the URL.

If someone were to take the time to rethink this idiom, it might be
nice.

And in some ways it has been rethought, although the sites that do it
aren't yet popular outside of heavy net-users.

Social Bookmarks are the natural extension of these kinds of idioms.
And if they ever really get their act together and start letting you
build sorted feeds of all your friends bookmarks. Or if a site like
facebook does it for them. (in the vein of yahoo pipes) We'll see
the tell a friend system replaces with 'add to your bookmark feed'
links.

Right now, social bookmark sites are leaning more and more towards
large-group dynamics. But if my bookmarkfeed was fed from the people
on my facebook profile, I'd be much more included to read it.

In a certain regard, you can already post things on facebook like
this. But I haven't yet seen a site with a 'post as a link on your
facebook' links. Nor have I seen facebook turn this isn't a real
social bookmarking system.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36156

26 Dec 2008 - 6:22pm
Jennifer Brook
2008

Juan and others,

I am not so sure Social Bookmarking is always the extension of the 'email a
friend' idiom. For ecommerce, I suspect the Wishlist. There is a strong
difference in user sharing behavior for products vs. articles or web pages.

For the dozens of online retailers I have worked with, 'email a friend' was
an expected item page feature, with wishlist and reviews following close
behind. A quick survey of a few of the Online Retailer 500 reveals this
trend. Note: none of the below online retailers have the 'Social Media Bar'.
Zappos is the only site to exhibit hope in social sharing by posting tiny
urls and badges.

*Ace Harware*: email a friend, wishlist
*Action Envelope*: email a friend
*Amazon*: email a friend, wishlist
*Fossil*: email a friend, wishlist
*Gap*: nothing
*Patagonia*: nothing
*Tiffany*: email a friend, wishlist
*Zappos*: tiny urls, html friendly badges

I am an avid Delicious user, constantly taging articles for myself and folks
in my network. However, when it comes to products or shopping, I rarely use
Delicious to tag or share a product. I will either use a private Wishlist or
as Evan said, email the link to myself or to a friend.

kindly,
Jennifer Brook

http://delicious.com/jenniferbrook

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